As you’d probably guess, we’re very much into recycling. From paper, metal and glass, to textiles, food and electrical items, we make it easy for people to responsibly and efficiently send their unwanted materials to recycling centres rather than landfill. We also love composting, upcycling, waste reduction and all other routines and initiatives that encourage and enable people to use less and save more, so it’s pretty rare that a type of recycling makes us tut and shake our heads. Below is an example.
So it turns out that the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada has accused major Hollywood studios of recycling old soundtracks. The federation claims that studios, including Sony, Paramount and Disney, have violated the terms of a collective bargaining agreement after using previously recorded film scores in later releases.
The official complaint lists a number of examples, including some major releases. For instance, there was allegedly 1min 10sec of the Titanic score used in This Means War, 33sec of Cast Away featured in Bridesmaids, 35sec of Battle for the Planet of the Apes used in Argo, and 2min 23sec of Close Encounters of the Third Kind used in Labor Day, without necessary compensation. We’re actually quite impressed that a piece of music used against Tom Hanks stranded on an island with only a volleyball for a friend could fit equally as well into a scene about friends preparing for a wedding, but then that’s the magic of Hollywood for you.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out and who wins, and none of this would have happened if the movies had simply sought the rights and/or properly credited the pieces. Whatever the verdict, these large production houses are already having to, if you’ll excuse the pun, face the music.